Storing “votes” in a database


I'm writing what will be an intranet application, and one of its features is roughly analogous to content voting – not unlike what SO, Amazon, and many other sites do.

Assuming each votable piece of content has a unique ID, and each user (they're authenticated) has a unique ID, the easiest way would seem to be to have a "votes" table…

ContentID int
UserID int
VoteValue int

But this creates one row per vote – with millions of pieces of content and tens of thousands of users, that table's gonna be huge huge huge. Is this the best way to do it? I mean, if an int takes 4 bytes, each row takes 12 bytes. If a million pieces of content get a hundred votes, that's 400MB+ in storage, yeah? Seems… like a lot :). Even if the VoteValue is a tinyint (which is probably fine) and only 1 byte, that's still a couple hundred megabytes in the table. I mean sheesh.

Is there a smarter way? Should I store this "votes" table in a separate database (ignoring potential data integrity issues) to partition it from the "main" data in terms of storage and performance?

(I do realize that in today's world 400MB ain't a ton – but it seems like a LOT just to store votes, yeah?)

Best Solution

Personally as long as you have good indexes in place, you are going about it the right way. Depending on your usage, for performance you might try to avoid hitting the votes table by storing secondary count information, but overall if you must track WHO has voted something, you need to do it in the way you have listed.

I wouldn't bother moving to another database, if you are REALLY concerned in SQL Server you could create a separate filegroup to hold it.....but most likely not necessary.